Monthly Archives: June 2017

How To Growing a Successful Business

To succeed in business today, you need to be flexible and have good planning and organizational skills. Many people start a business thinking that they’ll turn on their computers or open their doors and start making money, only to find that making money in a business is much more difficult than they thought. You can avoid this in your business ventures by taking your time and planning out all the necessary steps you need to achieve success.

1. Get Organized

To be successful in business you need to be organized. Organization will help you complete tasks and stay on top of things to be done. A good way to do this is to create a to-do list each day. As you complete each item, check it off your list. This will ensure that you’re not forgetting anything and you’re completing all the tasks that are essential to the survival of your business.

2. Keep Detailed Records

All successful businesses keep detailed records. By keeping detailed records, you’ll know where the business stands financially and what potential challenges you could be facing. Just knowing this gives you time to create strategies to overcome those challenges.

Competition breeds the best results. To be successful, you can’t be afraid to study and learn from your competitors. After all, they may be doing something right that you can implement in your business to make more money.

4. Understand the Risks and Rewards

The key to being successful is taking calculated risks to help your business grow. A good question to ask is “What’s the downside?” If you can answer this question, then you know what the worst-case scenario is. This knowledge will allow you to take the kinds of calculated risks that can generate tremendous rewards.

5. Be Creative

Always be looking for ways to improve your business and to make it stand out from the competition. Recognize that you don’t know everything and be open to new ideas and new approaches to your business.

6. Stay Focused

The old saying that “Rome was not built in a day” applies here. Just because you open a business doesn’t mean that you’re going to immediately start making money. It takes time to let people know who you are, so stay focused on achieving your short-term goals.

7. Prepare to Make Sacrifices

The lead-up to starting a business is hard work, but after you open your doors, your work has just begun. In many cases, you have to put in more time than you would if you were working for someone else. In turn, you have to make sacrifices, such as spending less time with family and friends in order to be successful.

8. Provide Great Service

There are many successful businesses that forget that providing great customer service is important. If you provide better service for your customers, they’ll be more inclined to come to you the next time they need something instead of going to your competition.

9. Be Consistent

Consistency is a key component to making money in business. You have to consistently keep doing the things necessary to be successful day in and day out. This will create long-term positive habits that will help you make money over the long term.

 

How to Starting a Successful Business

When you start your own business, you’re certain to hear a lot of different advice. Most of it will come from people who don’t know the first thing about running a successful company. Turn to the internet, and you’ll be overwhelmed by a multitude of articles and lengthy lists on the subject. Don’t make the mistake of overthinking and overanalyzing it all. A few simple steps now can start your business down the path toward success. Here, we outline the five basic tips we’ve followed to help us run our company.

 

1. Begin with a detailed plan.
This one is a must: Develop an in-depth plan that fully details how you’ll attack the challenge ahead. Your plan should define any opportunities you’ve identified, clearly state your mission, describe your target, establish measurable goals, and set deadlines for each milestone along the way. Remember that while it’s important to have a plan, it’s equally vital to be flexible enough to pivot when needed.

Related: How to Write a Business Plan

2. Get out there and network.
Our business would not be where it is today without all the professional networking we did when we first started. We continue to emphasize networking today. Until you’ve established your business, you’ll need to create your own word-of-mouth. Be your own brand ambassador, touting the benefits of working with your business and showing why people should give you a chance.

Start your own momentum. A wealth of events, trade shows, and networking groups exist to connect you with other professionals. These initial connections can lead to future business prospects, mentors, and strategic partners with the capacity to help grow your business.

Related: Are You ‘Networking’ for All the Wrong Reasons?

3. Surround yourself with the right people.
The right mentors and strategic partners aren’t the only people with whom you’ll need to align. Surrounding yourself with a great team is equally important. Build your staff with smart, talented, and driven employees who share your vision. They can not only transform your business but also accelerate its growth. Hiring positive, can-do employees helps create a culture that encourages teamwork. Foster an environment in which everyone participates, so you can collectively celebrate your company’s successes.

4. Stay ahead of the curve.
You can’t afford to be rooted in the present and solely focused on the day-to-day. It’s crucial to keep one eye focused on the future, including upcoming movement in your industry. If you aren’t anticipating the next big thing, you’re destined to fall behind. Successful business owners study trends and anticipate what’s coming around the bend. This allows them to nimbly adapt and evolve.

Stay current on emerging issues in your field by faithfully reading trade magazines and websites. Keeping pace as your industry changes assures you’ll have your finger on the pulse to predict what customers will want — and which direction your competition might move.

Related: How to Be Successful by Embracing Change

5. Find a healthy work-life balance.
Running a successful business requires an inordinate amount of time and energy. It’s paramount to find a healthy work-life balance, even though it can be a challenge to do so. It’s easy to let work dominate your life. Don’t. It could result in your losing touch with those whom you consider most important. It’s also crucial to take care of your own health and well-being. Your business can’t run without you. You might believe you need that perpetual hustle to stay sharp and succeed. But that pace can and will burn you out, ultimately limiting how much you can achieve if you don’t take time for yourself.

Find ways to maintain perspective and preserve healthy relationships outside of work. Set aside time to get your body active in ways that energize and invigorate you, and schedule catch-up time with friends and family. They’ll help recharge your batteries and inspire you to persevere as you dream even bigger.

Monetize Social Media by Creating Excellent Content

Do you think promoting your blog through social media is a waste of time? Or do you think focusing on social media is less important than your other marketing efforts? Think again.
Over a third of online users turn to social media to learn more about different brands. Over half of marketers who have been active on social media for two years have seen sales increase. And 41% of local businesses use social to drive sales.
Why People Fail at Social Media
One social media marketing educator notes that many people fail to drive profits through social media because of a misconception.
They think all they need to do is post an update asking people to buy. When their followers don’t, these people think social media isn’t effective.
The truth is that generating revenue through social media comes down to three tactics:
Knowing your audience
Speaking to their pain points
Using paid and organic traffic
Importance of Choosing a Niche
Online marketers widely agree that you must choose a niche wisely in order to be successful. You need to know who the members of your target audience are and how they are wired. This knowledge will enable you to create blog posts that speak directly to their desires and fears.
This means that you must take a stand for something, even if you alienate some people. If you’re not alienating someone, it’s unlikely you’re appealing to anyone. You don’t need to be abrasive and antagonistic. But if you don’t stand for something, what do you actually have to offer?
For example, many people surfing the web love to eat meat and have no interest in a vegan-oriented blog. But many others would be very interested in such a blog. If you try to appeal to both groups, you will lack credibility and dilute your message. You will be much more successful by appealing to one or the other.
Finding Your Niche
As online marketer Jerry Low observes, “No matter how well written your content or how beautiful your blog design—if you fail to pick the right niche, you will fail converting your effort into money.”
He recommends several methods for determining your niche. These include doing keyword research and finding out where online advertisers are spending money. Facebook is also useful for narrowing your audience (as well as for generating revenue, as we’ll discuss later).
If you have a Facebook page, you should explore in-depth the profiles of the people who have already liked your page. This ability in itself is a huge advantage of social media because it provides you with an easy way to learn about your potential buyers. The more you know about them, the more successful your marketing will be (and the more profits you will gain).
You can also learn about your audience by looking at your competitors’ pages. Find out which of your competitors’ posts are the most popular by going to Insights > Overview > Pages to Watch.
Another strategy you should pursue is finding out who is succeeding at marketing on social media and then mimicking their tactics. Why are people following them? What problems are they solving? What are the qualities of the most clickable headlines and the most popular posts?
You can also evaluate how your competitors are failing and learn from their mistakes.
Very Common Mistake to Avoid
There is one primary mistake people make when attempting social media marketing. They fail to realize the implications of the fact that they have customers all over the web on a variety of platforms.
Most companies post the same piece of content on all their platforms at once and then don’t think about the post again. If people are following you on several apps and you put the same content on all of them at the same time, your followers will receive multiple notifications about ONE post. But they are only going to read your post on one of those apps.
The result is you are squandering an opportunity to get your followers to notice you multiple times on every platform they enjoy.
Companies should create fewer pieces of extremely valuable content in a variety of formats. You could present one piece of content as an image, video, blog post, set of slides, a list of tips, podcast, quote, and so on. Then spread out your posts on different platforms on different days, using automation software to make the process easier.
The way this strategy could play out is you first publish a blog post on your website on the first day of a campaign. The second day, post on Facebook with a comment to generate emotion and interaction. Next, post on LinkedIn (with a link back to the original blog post) and the next day on Instagram (again, with a link back to the blog post).
The following day, post on Pinterest and the next on Twitter, and so on. This way, you are generating links and sending traffic back to your blog, making the most of every chance to get your audience’s attention.
Ways to Monetize Social Media
As you cultivate relationships with your followers, there are a number of ways you can turn the value you’re providing them into actual income.
One is that you can use social media to capture sign-ups for your email marketing. You could offer an incentive for signing up, such as a discount. Or you could give people the chance to sign up directly through Facebook. Tesla, for example, has a Sign-Up button on its Facebook page that takes you right to a place on the site where you can enter your email address.
The freemium model is another option for generating sales. You can offer something for free or for a trial period as a motivation for users to return and spend money once they know and like your product. Make sure that what you offer is useful without giving away too much. If you give away too much for free, people won’t think your product has much value.
You might consider affiliate marketing, where you partner with a social influencer who has an audience that would benefit from your product. If your interests align, the person or group will drive traffic to your site and get a percentage of the sales you make.
Of course, you can always attempt direct selling through social media. Facebook is a great platform for this tactic. You can showcase your product through images, video, and Facebook Live. And you can add a “Shop Now” button to your page so your followers can easily click through to purchase from your site.
On Instagram, companies will often post a compelling picture of their product and then direct their viewers to shop via a link in the bio. With the new Instagram for Business feature, it’s possible that brands will soon be able to show the prices of their products within each post and enable purchasing within the app.
Lead Generation
Many social networks work well for generating leads and filling your sales funnel. This is especially true for B2Bs. Look for third party tools developed for lead generation on specific social platforms. For example, Socedo is a Twitter lead generation tool.
Oktopost can measure social media insights and identify previous visits if a repeat visitor later subscribes to a list or downloads a white paper.
Use Your Imagination
You’re going to have to be creative in figuring out which platforms are most suited to your company’s marketing efforts. For example, while people commonly go to Instagram to learn more about their favorite brands, most of SnapChat’s users are not on that platform to shop. So SnapChat is not a great avenue for direct selling.
But SnapChat is popular with a younger demographic. If your message is targeted to younger people, you should explore how you could use it.
The nature of SnapChat is lighthearted and often silly, so the app could be a good fit for you if those qualities are in line with your branding. This post has some great ideas for using SnapChat to generate leads.

Some 5 Violations will Sink your Website with Google

For website owners and/or managers, there are many paths for online marketing and optimization. From SEO to PPC and content marketing to social media marketing, there is certainly no shortage of ways through which to achieve your goals. However, those options and opportunities for your website come with rules that you have to play by, and if you don’t, you could find your website in hot water.

If you’re reading this and what I’m saying applies to you, then there’s a good chance Google is your search engine of choice for marketing and optimization. In regards to SEO and general website management, Google plays by the rules they’ve carefully developed and continue to evolve over time. The guidelines Google has for website management keep the focus on providing the best experience and information possible for users while also preventing any one website or brand from cheating their way to the top.

Beware Google Violations

That being said, there are many instances in which businesses end up on Google’s bad side or with a penalty without doing so intentionally. You’ve probably heard horror stories of this happening to website owners, seeing a drastic plummet in rankings overnight or realizing they’ve fallen victim to an algorithm update and earned a penalty. Such penalties can severely hurt a website or business, as they can negatively impact traffic, ranking, and performance. In my experience, I’ve seen plenty of websites from clients that were completely unaware they’d done anything to get on Google’s bad side in the first place.

While there’s a long list of things that can get your website slapped with a penalty or red flagged by Google, there tends to be a few common ways that businesses end up in that position. Check them out below, and ensure that you’re actively taking steps to prevent these slip-ups.

Common Ways a Website Gets in Trouble

Black Hat SEO

One of the single most common issues that gets website in trouble is Black Hat SEO. This includes shady practices like cloaking, keyword stuffing, hidden text, using link farms, and much more. In short, black hat SEO practices try and skirt around the rules to get SEO results in half the time. As I’ve said before, there are no short cuts when it comes to SEO, and any practice that tries to take such a shortcut will very likely get you in a lot of trouble. Unfortunately, some businesses hire what they think is a reputable SEO company and later find out that they were doing black hat SEO for their website after being caught by Google. As a rule of thumb, website owners and managers should familiarize themselves with what black hat SEO is so they can spot it early if it’s coming from an SEO provider or avoid it altogether.

Duplicate Content

Many website owners and managers don’t realize what a problem having duplicate content is. This is especially true for e-commerce websites with hundreds of product listing pages, as it can be difficult to come up with unique content over and over again. However, in the eyes of Google, duplicate content directly equates to low-quality or less useful information for users. It’s a labor of love, but the copy on your website should be well written and unique on every page.

Excessive Guest Blogging

Google just recently issued a warning about abusing guest posting in order to gain links. To be clear, guest posting is by no means a black hat or shady strategy. However, having an article published across many different sites or guest posting low-quality content is considered a violation of Google distributor guidelines and should be avoided at all costs. For bloggers especially, it’s important to focus on building relationships that open up valuable guest posting opportunities. The posts you guest blog should be your best work and in no way reflective of spammy or less useful content, or Google will eventually catch up with you.

Slow Page Speed/Poorly Performing Site

This matters a lot, because Google regularly crawls sites and accounts for how functional and accessible they are. Having a slow page speed, not being mobile friendly, or having a difficult to navigate site shows Google that your site isn’t the best option for users to find in their search results. By now we know that page speed, mobile friendliness, and ease of website crawling are factored into algorithms. Checking to see how your website performs through user testing and testing page speed are both things website owners should check on if they haven’t already.

Hacked Websites

Security is a big factor for Google, because they want to know that user information is secure on the websites they visit. Hacked websites are up 32% in the past year, posing a significant threat to the performance and success of websites as well as the security of users. Securing your website is an important and necessary step all webmasters must take if they intend to be successful on Google. From simple practices like implementing two-step authentication to purchasing more advanced security packages, it’s in your interest to make your website security airtight to avoid a penalty from Google.